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Opportunities to Improve Health Identified in Lake County Community Health Needs Assessment

General

Media Contact: Joshua Cowan, Northern California Network

Phone: (707)-967-7515 Email: joshua.cowan@ah.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 20, 2013

Opportunities to Improve Health Identified in Lake County Community Health Needs Assessment

The recent Lake County Community Health Needs Assessment has identified several opportunities to improve the health of our residents. The 180-page assessment, conducted by Barbara Aved Associates, includes demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, selected health status indicators, health resource availability and utilization, a summary of related assessments, local perspectives and conclusions and recommended priorities.

On the positive side, Lake County residents fare better than other Californians in AIDS incidence, death from diabetes and children’s access to dental services. Focus group participants and the 994 residents who completed a Community Health Survey have an understanding of factors that support health, choosing exercise, eating fresh produce and not smoking as the top 3 health habits that contribute to maintaining personal health.

Of note is that Lake County is becoming increasingly diverse and has a population of residents over age 65 that is nearly double the proportion of seniors in California as a whole. About 34 percent of children (one-third higher than the state average) and 9.3 percent of seniors – close to 8.000 individuals – live below the poverty level. Also, about 33 percent of low-income adults report not being "food secure."

Lake County residents are more likely than other Californians to:

Have higher rates of drug (including prescription) use

Have higher rates of obesity

Have coronary heart disease

Die from lung cancer

Die from chronic liver disease and cirrhosis

Be a teen mother

"Many of these statistics are sobering," stated Karen Tait, M.D., Public Health Officer for Lake County. "Each one of these statistics represents a community member, someone in your family, your neighbor, your friend. Every one of us has a role in improving the health status of our community."

The recommended priorities include:

Promotion and support of healthy choices/healthy behaviors

Promotion and support of emotional and mental well being

Prevention and treatment of use/misuse of legal and illegal substances, including prescription drugs and medications

Promotion of collaborative relationships among Lake County health and human services providers

"Make a commitment today to do one thing every day to improve your health," challenged Dr. Tait. "Take a walk, eat an apple, cut down on smoking or quit, volunteer, talk to your doctor about preventive screenings. Even small steps yield big rewards."

Agencies taking part in the Lake County Collaborative included St. Helena Hospital Clear Lake, Sutter Lakeside Hospital, Lake County Health Services, Lake Family Resource Center, First 5 of Lake County, Lake County Tribal Health Consortium, Health Leadership Network, Lake County Behavioral Health, Veteran’s Affairs, Mendocino Community Health Clinic, Inc., and Area Agency on Aging, Lake and Mendocino Counties.

The full assessment can be found at http://health.ca.lake.ca.us.


St. Helena Hospital Clear Lake is part of Adventist Health, a faith-based, not-for-profit integrated health care delivery system serving communities in California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington. Our workforce of 28,900 includes more than 21,200 employees; 4,500 medical staff physicians; and 3,200 volunteers. Founded on Seventh-day Adventist health values, Adventist Health provides compassionate care in 19 hospitals, more than 170 clinics (hospital-based, rural health and physician clinics), 14 home care agencies, six hospice agencies and four joint-venture retirement centers. We invite you to visit www.sthelenahospitals.org for more information.